Malawi Revenue Authority is warning all minibus drivers, owners, and all transporters to desist from transporting cargo without knowing and verifying its contents for fear of falling prey to unscrupulous alcohol smugglers.
It has come to our attention that unscrupulous alcohol smugglers have resorted to using Lizulu -Mlanda route in Ntcheu where they use unsuspecting local minibuses to carry cargo in huge cartons and masquerade as any other normal parcel.
The cartel of smugglers is offloading alcohol at Villa in Mozambique where a Mozambican smuggler ferries the same and illegally enters Malawi via Lizulu before handing over the merchandise to its owners at Mlanda in Ntcheu. It is here that the local smugglers use unsuspecting local minibuses and coasters to carry these illegal cargo under the premise that it is just an ordinary cargo.
Our officers on the ground had followed a truck registration number RU 3515 which had made a U-turn back to Mozambique as it was approaching Dedza MRA Border Post. This attracted our attention as we suspected a sinister move by the vehicle.
So, MRA sent its undercover officers and followed the truck up to Villa in Mozambique. This is where all the smugglers left their trail and our officers managed to lead the trail up to Mlanda (Ntcheu) where the handover of the smuggled liquor is done (to their Malawian counterparts).
The Malawi Revenue Authority is therefore warning all minibus drivers, and operators to desist from this malpractice as it is against the laws of Malawi.
The minibus operators are being reminded that once apprehended, they shall serve a minimum of three years imprisonment with Hard Labour, pay a hefty fine, and also the vehicle that was used in this illegal act shall be impounded.
In a related development, the MRA has also discovered that some lorries are assisting these smugglers by ferrying the smuggled liquor and cover it with tomato and other farm produce. You too are also being warned to stop this malpractice lest you face the long arm of the law.
Ignorance is no defence under the courts of law, therefore MRA is advising all minibus operators, to firstly verify the contents of the cargo they are about to carry for fear of being on the wrong side of the law.
MRA is also warning and advising lorry drivers, and operators to stop this act forthwith.